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Earnest Review

Tuesday, January 25th

2022 Student Loan Refinance Company Reviews

Earnest Review 4.5 Star Rating

Earnest

4.5 Star Rating
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB
  • Better interest rates if you've made on-time payments in the past
  • Bi-weekly or monthly repayments available
  • Can skip a payment every 12 months
  • Minimum loan amount of $5,000

Although Earnest has only been around for a little less than 10 years, they've already helped more than 160,000 clients - including over $14.5 billion in refinanced student loans. Instead of passing you off to a third-party lender like many of their rivals, Earnest services your loan themselves. As they put it, "real people are never more than a call or email away" .

First step: rate estimate

Click on the green "Get Started" or "2 Min: Get My Rate" button to see what your new interest rate could be if you refinance with Earnest. You'll provide your name, email address and citizenship status, as well as the details of your current student loans. To finalize your rate quote, you'll need to choose a password for your account and enter your Social Security Number. Completing this process will give you a rate estimate. For reference, their posted rates are competitive on both fixed-rate loans and variable-rate loans during our most recent visit to the Earnest site (and those rates included a 0.25% auto pay discount).

Second step: full application

If Earnest isn't able to match your information with your credit history to do a soft pull, you'll be taken to a screen asking you to start a full application. That will include more specifics about your major and graduation date, current employment and salary, as well as a request to connect the account where your paycheck is deposited. The clearer the financial picture you give Earnest, the more likely you are to be offered the lowest possible rates on your student loan refinancing. And, if you add a cosigner to your loan, you may also qualify for a lower interest rate. Just remember that submitting a full application does impact your credit report.

Best Student Loan Refinance Companies

No hidden fees

There are some big advantages to using Earnest for student loan refinancing. Not only do they consider your credit score, but they also take into account your financial responsibility: if you've been paying your current loans on time, Earnest gives you credit for making good choices already. There are no extra fees, either: not origination, prepayment, or anything else.

Super-flexible repayment options

Plus, Earnest offers a great deal of flexibility you won't find elsewhere. You can customize the payment amount you prefer or the specific number of months you want to have as your repayment term: no one-size-fits-all expectations here. You may also be eligible for a deferment if you start attending graduate school. Finally, once you've made on-time payments for six months, you can skip a payment once every 12 months (though the principal and interest from that skipped payment will be spread out over the ones you have remaining, and that will make your monthly payments higher).

Positive reputation makes Earnest worth considering

As a student loan refinancing provider, Earnest enjoys a very positive reputation. Starting with an "A+" and accreditation from the BBB, and in conjunction with nearly 4,000 five-star reviews elsewhere, it's easy to see that this is a resource you can trust. Clients repeatedly praise Earnest for a smooth process and almost unbelievably low interest rates compared with previous loans and other lenders. While we found a few complaints about issues with loan servicing and recording of payments, the vast majority of Earnest users are completely satisfied with the experience. It's definitely worth considering if you need to refinance multiple student loans or to just refinance a single account to a lower rate.

Where Can You Find the Best Options for Student Loan Refinancing?

If you got your student loans back when interest rates were high, you're smart to think it might be a good idea to refinance when rates have dropped. Whether you get a lower rate or take years off your loan (or both!), your savings could be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

You can typically qualify to refinance your student loans if your outstanding balance is at least $5,000, though some lenders have higher minimums. You'll often need to be in good standing and up to date on your current loan payments, have steady income and a credit score of 660 or higher. Otherwise, your refinancing may require a cosigner.

The Best Student Loan Refinance Companies Compare Student Loan Refinance Companies Compare Student Loan Refinance Company Reviews What are the best Student Loan Refinance Companies Best Student Loan Refinance Company Reviews

Student Loan Refinance Company FAQ

Refinancing your student loans essentially means that you're taking your current education debt and replacing it with a new loan. This can be done with both federal and private loans.
If interest rates have dropped significantly since you first got your loans, that's a great time to see if a new loan could save you money. And, if you're able to shorten the length of your loan at the same time - like going from having 15 years left on a 20-year term to a 10-year term - you'll save even more.
The qualifications for student loan refinancing are probably different from the ones you had to meet to get your original funding. Most lenders require a minimum refinanced amount of $5,000, though some have higher thresholds of $10-$15k. You'll also need a credit score in the upper 600s or more and a steady income - or a cosigner who meets those criteria. Finally, many financial institutions will only refinance your student loans if you completed your degree.
Be very careful when deciding to refinance federal student loans. You'll lose the perks that are only available with those loans, like income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs. And, of course, refinancing isn't a good idea if it doesn't help you in some way: lowering your interest rate, making your monthly payments more manageable, or saving you in interest over the timeframe of the loan.
Yes! It's the simplest way to get the best rates and terms too. Most providers will ask you some basic questions about your current situation, including your income and the amount of educational debt you're hoping to refinance, and they'll do a soft pull on your credit report (your score won't be affected). They'll use that information to tell you if you tentatively qualify for one of their refinancing loans. Once you decide to complete the full application, a hard pull will be done and if you're offered a loan, all that's left is for you to accept the terms and submit any required documentation. All of that can easily be done online!
It's a subtle distinction, and it can depend on who you ask. If you have multiple student loans (federal and private) and you combine all of that debt into a single new private loan, you're consolidating and refinancing your loans. But, there's also a governmental Direct Consolidation Loan program that is just for federal student loans: it makes it easier to manage your payments and preserves the benefits specific to federal loans, but it doesn't include any private loans you have and doesn't save you any money.
It shouldn't. Most lenders will happily tell you that they charge no fees for applying, originating loans, or really anything else (besides the loan itself, of course). Just remember that the process will usually include a soft pull of your credit during prequalification and then a hard pull when you decide to officially apply; the latter will temporarily impact your credit report.
That varies by lender. You can find out in just a few minutes if you prequalify, and another few minutes to get formally approved if you decide to complete the full application. From there, you'll probably be asked to submit documentation on your current loan, proof of income and other paperwork. Most lenders will tell you to expect it to take up to 45 days for your current loans to be paid off and for your new loan to be finalized.
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Continued from above...

But, be careful if you're considering refinancing your federal student loans into a private loan. There are some benefits offered with government student loans that don't carry over into privately-funded ones. Do your research before you sign on the dotted line and make sure that the benefits you'd gain outweigh the perks you'd lose.

So, you've determined that it's the right time to refinance your student loan. What should you look for in a lender? Here are some factors to guide your decision-making:

  • Referral service or loan originator. Some platforms let you compare loan possibilities with multiple lenders using a single prequalifying application. This one-stop "shopping" can save you some time and hassle, but ultimately you'll still have to complete a full application with the lender you choose. Other refinancing sites belong to the lenders themselves and that can make the process more streamlined.
  • Loan minimums and other eligibility requirements. While most lenders let you refinance student loan balances as low as $5,000, some will only approve loans of $10,000 or $15,000 and up. Not all lenders will refinance your student loans if you didn't finish your degree, either.
  • Customer service. Consider what borrowers have to say about their experience with the lender or referral service - not just during the application and approval process, but also while making payments. Choose a lender that has a good reputation for helping customers both before and after the refinancing is complete.

To help you determine the best way to refinance your student loan, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's top lenders. We're confident that with this information, you'll easily find the right rate and term on your loan refinancing!

The Best Reviews of Student Loan Refinance Companies